Vincent Black

Is your car still on the driveway?



Over the past several years many of us have become aware of someone’s car being stolen out of their driveway or worse someone that we know being carjacked at gunpoint. Often we would shrug it off, but in recent years this problem has occurred at alarming rates with the police very rarely coming to our aid. This issue has become so bad, that thieves are kicking down your door to get the keys to the car. This has gone from a car being stolen out of your driveway to a gun being pointed at you or someone you love.

Car thefts have been a long-standing issue in cities around the world, and Toronto is no exception. In recent years, there has been growing concern over the rise in car thefts in Toronto and neighboring areas. While it is essential to understand the scope of the problem, it is equally important to explore measures that citizens can take to protect themselves and their vehicles.

In Toronto, car thefts have been a persistent problem, with many incidents occurring in broad daylight and from residential areas. According to the Toronto Police Services, data indicates that car thefts have been on the rise in recent years. The vehicles targeted range from high-end luxury cars to everyday commuter vehicles, and the methods used by thieves have become increasingly sophisticated. The issue of car thefts is not limited to Toronto but is a widespread problem in urban centers across the globe.

While car theft rates fluctuate over time, it is evident that the problem persists and continues to evolve. The advancement of technology, such as keyless entry systems and relay attacks, has provided thieves with new opportunities to steal vehicles. Moreover, the organized nature of car theft rings and the potential for vehicles to be sold for parts or shipped abroad further complicate the issue.

So, the big question is… what can citizens do to protect themselves?

As car owners, there are several proactive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of falling victim to car theft. The very simple basic first step is to secure a safe parking area. Whenever possible, park your vehicle in well-lit areas or secure parking facilities. If you have a garage or driveway, utilize these spaces to keep your vehicle safe. Use anti-theft devices, installing a steering wheel lock, car alarms, and GPS tracking systems to deter thieves and increase the chance of recovering your vehicle if it is stolen.

Be mindful of where you keep your car keys and consider using signal-blocking pouches or containers to prevent relay attacks targeting keyless entry systems. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to the authorities. Additionally, consider forming or joining neighborhood watch groups to enhance community vigilance. Ensure that you have comprehensive insurance coverage for your vehicle, including theft protection, to safeguard against potential losses.

Collaborating with law enforcement, in addition to individual efforts, citizens can work with law enforcement agencies to address the issue of car thefts. This can involve participating in community policing initiatives, attending local crime prevention workshops, and staying informed about trends and patterns related to car thefts in their areas. This area of collaboration is something that needs to be put at a high level. We need to engage the police with any information that you know, or report as said anything that you feel is out of context. Turning a blind eye to these issues will only make things worse for all of us.

Finally, the federal government in this country last week announced a joint task force to tackle carjacking and thefts. The federal liberal government says it will provide over 120 million for police in Ontario to target gun and gang violence with a particular focus on the surge in auto thefts and carjackings. This is a small start, but at least some efforts are being made…. on the other hand, with Doug Ford’s government accepting this money and is saying all the right things to get voters on side. The one line that Ford used last week that resonated with many is he said that folks are in fear and are “sleeping with a baseball bat beside their bed because someone’s going to kick the door and put a gun to their head.”

The call for tougher penalties for car theft is really what’s needed. On a global scale, Canada is a major target with weak laws which attract thieves to be imported from out of the country. The ones stealing these vehicles are generally kids under the age of twenty, because they know that they will be out on bail as quickly as 24 hours and back doing the same thing. The problem has become so bad that the heads of these rings are incentivising kids with up to 20 thousand for a luxury vehicle stolen. The bounty is high with no remorse, and until we stiffen our laws, nothing will change.

Car thefts in Toronto and beyond present a significant challenge for both law enforcement and citizens.
On a personal note… I have friends who have had their cars stolen and the process of reimbursement with the insurance companies and the police is very frustrating. One of my friends was held up a gun point for his car one morning when he was parking his vehicle in front of the gym… he was fortunate that morning when the shooter dropped his gun, and my friend escaped a tragic event. His advice was that if confronted again, just give them the keys… its not worth your life!

Vince Nigro/MS

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